“Stuck Together” by Mary Connealy

The last in the Trouble in Texas series, Stuck Together, finishes the stories of the four ‘Regulator’ friends so called for their time and occupation in Andersonville Prison at the end of the Civil War. Overcoming their difficult circumstances has taught them to stick together, even after they are released. When trouble finds them in Texas, they are there for each other. Whether its dodging bullets in a land war, lending aid during a measles epidemic in an Indian village, or escaping the clutches of a madwoman, they stick to their guns.

But for Vince Yates, the capital T in Trouble stands for Tina Cahill, sister to one of his friends, who has a penchant for getting herself—and him—into trouble. More trouble than she brings is in store for Vince when his dysfunctional family arrives for an ‘indefinite’ stay, his friends get shot at, and his prisoner escapes—all in quick succession. With the demons of his past dragging him under, his friends pulling the unwilling lawman in different directions, and Tina drawing him in—he feels stuck in his past and in his future. What will it take to get him unstuck from his problems and stuck on the One who really matters?

Mary Connealy’s book was written in her usual style, action-packed mystery mixed with poignant (and feisty) romance, great dialogue and interesting characters. I love her turn of phrase or situation, served with a bit of tartness, and altogether hilarious.

My only complaint is that I think there should have been a fourth book in this series. There was too much going on for everything to fit into one novel. One of her abilities as a writer is to introduce characters and scenarios for future novels in her current one, thereby extending the romances and better developing the characters. So I was especially surprised (and disappointed) that the romance of the fourth Regulator was squished in, and not at all fore-shadowed; though in this and previous novels she’d done such a good job of setting up interesting backgrounds for those characters. Also, it seemed the spiritual development of the main characters was either too quick or nearly absent. The adventure and romance of the main pair were just right, but I would have liked to see more spiritual development and resolution of ‘past affects future’ problems (especially for Tina, who feels unlovable). I would have really loved to see another novel in this series: the characters and story-lines could have supported it. Not every series has to be a trilogy!

Thank you to NetGalley (https://www.netgalley.com) and Bethany House for providing me with a copy of this book to read and review.

 

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